IBM Corp. – 2012 50 Out Front # 34

IBM Corp.

Armonk, NY
433,362 employees
CEO: Ginni Rometty
CDE: Ron Glover

Diversity mission: IBM has a long history of commitment to diversity and has consistently taken the lead on diversity policies long before it was required by law. It began in the mid-20th century, grounded in equal opportunity legislation and compliance (Diversity 1.0). We moved forward to Diversity 2.0 in the 1990s with a focus on eliminating barriers, and understanding regional constituencies and differences between the constituencies. As our demographics changed, we adapted our workplace to be more flexible and began our focus on work-life integration. In addition, over the past 5 years, we’ve introduced IBM’s Values, which links to our diversity work.

Claiming to be a pioneer of diversity in the workplace brings with it great expectations. Having gone on record as employing African-Americans long before mandated by law, IBM is quite proud of its long-standing record of diversity and inclusion. It recognizes, however, that its concept of diversity is still evolving. Its current initiative, Diversity 3.0, seeks to expand the definition of diversity to be ever more inclusive, and to advocate for diversity globally wherever it does business. IBM recently challenged the accepted definition of diversity by introducing the concept of “Diversity of Thought.” This important aspect of diversity explores how culture and age impact relationships, and how adaptability and cultural intelligence broaden the capabilities of IBM employees to work with each other and their clients. It includes both cultural and generational differences in thought. While IBM is casting a wider net on issues of diversity, it remains committed to the existing issues, such as race and gender, that it has championed for years.